Getting Back to Basics

Leadership and TeamworkAs a CIO, I rarely if ever do basic technology troubleshooting. Not because I don’t want too, but my staff usually discourages me from touching things these days. 

Yesterday was an unusually slow day for me. So I decided to catch up on some personal housekeeping and organizing. So I decided to move my computer and to relocate to a new jack which was not lit.

Since it was a slow day and my techs were busy, I took it upon myself to patch my own jack. Something I haven’t done in a very long time. I saw it as an opportunity to get back to my roots.

In the data center I discovered a nest of cables and miss labels. Poor cable management to say the least. I wasn’t happy but after 2 hours I was able to trace my cable and patch to the new jack.

Afterwards, I had a short conversation with my network manager about this situation.

Needless to say, I should have been more attentive to such details instead of relying on staff.

In the future, I’ll be making more unannounced visits to the datacenter and maybe elsewhere.

ReBoot – Golf and Big Data

A CIO's VoiceI am a horrible golfer. I am first to admit it. I struggle with having a complete game. There are days when my long game is on point and others when my short game and putting is phenomenal. It is rare that both are working together. I struggle with it because I want to improve. Like anything in life, if I was good at it from the start what fun will be that be? Maybe it is my weird sense of what fun is.

A new virtual golf business opened not too far from my home. Great little joint and the simulators help work on your game during the brutal winter months when that Polar Vertex is hovering over us.

I started to think about the simulator and the amount of data it was using to alow us to play a round of golf. Can Big Data be used to improve a golfer? Or allow a professional golfer to win more tournaments?

Here is a hypothetical – say you are able to capture the following data:

  • Day of the year
  • Time
  •  Weather information (wind, humidity, etc)
  • Course information (distance, markers, green info, etc, etc)

The above information is readily available on most golf GPSs. And clearly most golf simulators are able to capture a lot of data such as swing speed, club head angle, etc.

Now if we add the following information player specific dat

  • Handicap
  • Average # of shots played previously on that course
  • Distance made with specific clubs for that course
  • Ball type
  • How the player is playing the day of (soft data point)

Can this information be loaded into a database and be crunched and then sent to an iPad or other device to allow a player to know what club he should/or should not use and how to hit?

All this rests on if a player is able to duplicate his swing repeatedly. For most amateurs that is impossible. But I think a professional golfer can easily do that.

There is definitely a place for this type of information in this sport. 

Innovation Teamwork and Lego

Leadership and TeamworkI saw this commercial on TV and thought it was well done.  It speaks volumes about innovation and teamwork. I have been a Lego builder since I was 5. I felt that as toy it has the ability to be so much more and this commercial says that.

A CIO’s Christmas List

Dear Santa:     aciosvoice.jpg

In 2013 we have seen improvement in the economy. Things are looking better. Hopefully the momentum will carry into 2014.

I have tried to be really good by being the best CIO I can. So Santa, this year, I would like the following:

▪   Better analytics for our Big Data initiatives. There is so much information we don’t know where to begin..

▪   A migration plan to Windows 8. It is time we move away from Windows XP. Really – it is time.

▪   Enough bandwidth to support these BYOD. They are popping up everywhere.

▪   A Tesla Model S. This is one cool looking electric car.

▪   A Playstation 4. I know I am getting old but these games are getting so realistic.

▪   Help with my golf slice. Okay maybe you cannot help with that, so throw a few lessons in my stocking.

Thanks Santa and Merry Christmas.

P.S. I left cookies and milk for you in the cloud. Please help yourself but please don’t drop any crumbs.

ReBoot – Where Is My TV Guide?

A CIO's VoiceThe other day I was having a conversation with someone in there 20s and I mentioned a TV Guide. They gave me that look you get when you tell people you remember when TV sets had knobs.

As technology marches on, there are some items in print that have or are disappearing. I remember reading the TV Guide but I have not used on in over 10 years, since I got cable and use the online TV Guide.

Do you remember encyclopedias? I grew up using them in school. With the internet you can find virtually any fact you need.

What about a dictionary or thesaurus? When was the last time you looked up a definition for a word? MSOffice has made them obsolete as well or you can use the internet.

I still read a newspaper on occasion. But for the most part I now read it more often on online.

As for magazines, I do read those. Mostly on my commute home or on the plane. But now they are quickly getting thinner with more content online along with more online ads.

Maybe some day we will no longer have to print information on paper. In some ways that is great progress. But in others something nostalgic is lost.

8 hours vs 8 hours Plus – When Is Enough Enough?

How much is enough? Are you productive during your 8 hours? Some organizations expect you to put in more than 8 hours. Not really for anything else but to show your dedication to working 12 plus hours each day.

While there are times when one might put in such long days (i.e. after hours maintenance or systems upgrades), I subscribe to the philosophy that if you cannot complete your task or make progress to complete your task then you are doing something wrong. If you are just putting in hours to show your face and not really accomplishing much then you are not efficient and fully maximizing your day.

Why not be efficient and accomplish your tasks in 8 hours or under? It leads to prioritizing work efficiently and the end result is a better quality of life.

ReBoot – The Humbled CIO

I have been remised in writing the last few weeks for a couple of reasons.

First – Work has just gotten really busy and there have been a few issues that required me to put in extra hours. In my old age, those late nights require me to take longer to recuperate.

Second – My weekends have been spent attending weddings, birthday parties, and the occasional family visit requiring me to be an unofficial tour guide.

Third and most importantly – My wife and I are expecting our first child. So we are eagerly preparing our house for our new arrival.

We recently visited the doctor’s office for our first full body ultrasound of our baby. I must admit I was a little intimated by the ultrasound machine. Having worked  in datacenters the size of football fields filled with blade servers, main frames, and generators the size of locomotives, I was humbled by this ultra sound machine the size of a small desk that was able to peer into my wife’s stomach and show us our precious little one in 3D.

It is rare for me to be impressed with technology these days but this did. With a small scanner the technician was able to see every finger and bump in what appeared to me to be a bad black and white picture. But everything was there and measurements and even weighted were calculated.

As I sat in the room and watched it on a 45inch lcd screen next to my wife I couldn’t help but say to myself, “Damn this is really really cool”. I often forget that technology is more than processing and storage. It can be and should be used for things like this. To peer inside and give parents that feeling that everything is going well and to not be afraid of what is about to come.